Black Bean + Sweet Potato Burgers

sweet potato burger lettuce wrap

I’m a big fan of veggie burgers, and would rather make them myself than resort to the store-bought, not-so-tasty version of veggie burgers. I’m also a big fan of sweet potatoes! Mashed, roasted, sautéd, sweet potato fries…I’ll eat them pretty much any which way. The unique sweetness of sweet potatoes is oh so delicious. And pairing the sweet sweet potato with salt + other spices makes for the perfect savory veggie burger. Although this burger is meatless, it doesn’t skimp on the protein. The black beans + whole grain oats in this recipe provide plenty of plant based protein and fiber to keep you full and satisfied.

This recipe is a great “make-ahead” meal because you can get the burgers all cooked and then store them in the fridge or freezer for later. In the fridge they will last up to one week. In the freezer they will last a couple of months. Just be sure to package them carefully to prevent any freezer burn because no one likes that. When you’re ready to serve, the burgers will just need a quick sear in a pan, or a few minutes in the oven to reheat and they will taste like you just cooked them.

Yam versus Sweet Potato. What’s the difference?

I have to admit that I’ve been easily confused trying to decipher the difference between a yam and a sweet potato. I’ve heard that yams are the dark orange looking “potato” and sweet potatoes have a lighter, almost white flesh. Maybe you’ve heard the same or maybe the opposite. One thing is true though: it can be confusing. So if you’re confused like I once was, here’s the scoop on the difference between yams and sweet potatoes.

The Yam.

Although they often get confused or lumped into the same category, yams and sweet potatoes are not really that similar. They are both root vegetables, but come from two completely different “families.” Yams are native to Africa and Asia. They have a cylindrical shape with a tough brown outer skin and white, purple or red looking inner flesh. In fact, many of the grocery stores you’ve been to probably don’t even carry real yams.

The Sweet Potato.

You’ve likely only had sweet potatoes since yams are fairly uncommon in standard supermarkets. There are a couple of different varieties of sweet potato that you should be familiar with. One is the more firm potato with a tannish-white flesh. This variety remains more firm when cooked and is slightly less sweet. The other is the softer, sweeter potato with the bright orange flesh. This variety remains more soft when cooked and is commonly used in your Thanksgiving candied “yam” recipe or as mashed sweet potatoes. So what it comes down to is that you’re most likely eating sweet potatoes, just different varieties. And don’t be fooled by the orange looking potato at the grocery store labeled as a yam…it’s really just a sweet potato after all. So now that the mystery is solved, let’s get to the good stuff: My Black Bean + Sweet Potato Burgers. Detailed recipe and directions are below.

[2 medium-sized sweet potatoes peeled.]

peeled sweet potatoes
Step one:  peel sweet potatoes, coarsely chop and add to boiling water. Boil until soft, fork tender and easily mashable. This will take around 15-20 minutes depending on how small you chop your potatoes. To know when they’re done, poke them with a fork and they should be very soft and mashable. Drain the excess water and add sweet potatoes to a large bowl for mashing.

[the main players: boiled sweet potatoes + black beans]

sweet potatoes and black beans
Step two:  mash the sweet potatoes well. Then incorporate the black beans and all other ingredients. Continue mashing all ingredients together until they are well combined. You can get a little messy and use your hands during this step, to ensure everything gets mixed and incorporated well.

 [binders + flavoring agents.]

veggie burger ingredients
Step three:  form 7-8 patties until the mixture is completely used up — I made seven total. Add some oil to a large pan and sear each side of the patties until they become a golden brown. While the searing step is not mandatory, I think it gives the burgers a little crispiness and some added flavor. So if you’re in a pinch for time, you can skip the searing step and just pop them straight in the oven.

 [“raw” burger patties ready to be seared.]

uncooked veggie burger patties
Step four:  add the burgers to a 350 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping half way through. This will cook the burgers completely so they don’t crumble and fall apart. The texture of the burgers are soft, but you should be able to pick them up without falling apart.

I then top my burger with some sliced avocado + a little hot sauce and wrap in butter lettuce. Yum! I like the butter lettuce because it easily wraps around the burger without ripping and it’s sturdy enough to act as a bun. It’s almost like butter lettuce was made for bun-less burger fans like myself! Check out the full, printable recipe + directions below.

 [seared + baked burgers, ready for toppings.]

seared veggie burger patties

Black Bean + Sweet Potato Burgers

servings: 7-8 burgers

Ingredients

  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 cups black beans [soaked + cooked, or can use 1 can drained + rinsed]
  • 1 organic egg
  • ¾ cup oats
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Directions

Coarsely chop sweet potatoes and add to a pot of boiling water on the stove. Boil until potatoes are soft and mashable, about 20 minutes. Mash potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Next, add all remaining ingredients into bowl with sweet potatoes and mix until well combined. Form mixture into 6-8 patties. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive or coconut oil in large pan on medium heat. Once heated, add 2-3 patties to pan at a time [depending on the size of your pan]. Sear each patty on both sides [cook 3-5 minutes on each side and then flip]. Add patties to parchment paper lined baking sheet. Once all patties have been seared, add to oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, flipping half way through. Remove from oven and serve. These can also be cooked ahead of time and stored for later. To store for later, let burgers cool completely then wrap each individually in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to one week. Can freeze as well.

serving suggestion: serve in lettuce wrap topped with fresh avocado slices with a side of roasted vegetables.

black bean sweet potato burgers

Roasted Broccoli

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large head broccoli, chopped into bite-size florets
  • sea salt + pepper to taste

Directions

Cover broccoli with oil, sea salt + pepper. Mix to coat all veggies evenly. Add to parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 25-3o minutes in 350 degree oven. Can bake longer if needed for desired doneness. Bake vegetables and burgers together so they will be done and ready to be served at the same time.

Black Bean + Sweet Potato Burgers
 
Author:
Serves: 7-8
Ingredients
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 cups black beans [soaked + cooked, or can use 1 can drained + rinsed]
  • 1 organic egg
  • ¾ cup oats
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. Coarsely chop sweet potatoes and add to a pot of boiling water on the stove.
  2. Boil until potatoes are soft and mashable, about 20 minutes.
  3. Mash potatoes in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Next, add all remaining ingredients into bowl with sweet potatoes and mix until well combined.
  5. Form mixture into 6-8 patties.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Heat olive or coconut oil in large pan on medium heat. Once heated, add 2-3 patties to pan at a time [depending on the size of your pan].
  8. Sear each patty on both sides [cook 3-5 minutes on each side and then flip].
  9. Add patties to parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  10. Once all patties have been seared, add to oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, flipping half way through.
  11. Remove from oven and serve.
  12. These can also be cooked ahead of time and stored for later. To store for later, let burgers cool completely then wrap each individually in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to one week. Can freeze as well.
  13. serving suggestion: serve in lettuce wrap topped with fresh avocado slices with a side of roasted vegetables.

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Angela Freed

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